family + regeneration since 1884
Christianna Reinstein Kohler — 5th generation
Christianna fondly remembers the ranch as a wild playground of unknown things during her childhood. Her path into adulthood ventured far from her country roots to discover more of the unknown, eventually leading her to become a yoga teacher in San Francisco. Her search for retreat spaces led her to the revelation that she could return to her roots and create her very own space. She feels gratitude for all opportunities that facilitate self-exploration and elevate consciousness. Her passion is simply sharing her playground with others and she never gets tired of that spark she sees in the eyes of her guests. A lover of people, food, yoga, and meditation, she can be found in her ranch house kitchen, in the garden, or on the mat.
Dr. Albrecht Köhler — CFO
Lovingly called Albe by anyone who doesn't speak German, Albrecht is an adventurer at heart. California was supposed to be a temporary part of his PhD program in Physics but shortly before his planned return to Germany, his path crossed with Christianna’s (okay, let’s be real…they met on Tinder). He was enchanted with her and the wild nature of the ranch and they tied the knot in 2016 (at the ranch!). A natural problem solver, he sees the ranch as a goldmine of opportunity for optimization. His current hobby is woodworking, and with a background in science and eye for design, the pieces that come out of his woodshop are intricate, practical, and beautiful. You will most likely to find him in the office, producing trippy techno music, or in the woodshop.
C & A —
As a couple, Christianna and Albe emit a balanced and loving energy. They are devoted to the ranch and each other, working tirelessly to improve and evolve the space. They both practice meditation, knowing it helps them sustain their passion and vision for the ranch.
"We understand that our energy affects the space and we want our guests to feel our sense of ease and joy."
Thom — 4th generation
Born and raised on the ranch. As a kid, he would climb the stack of hay bales to get service on his tiny radio, dreaming of another world. Once her turned 18 he left country life and entered the world of radio. After two decades of city life, heartbreak rerouted his path back to the ranch. Settling in once again, he realized the ranch had not changed but he had. With a new sense of appreciation, he restored the once dilapidated ranch house and began boarding horses so the land could generate some money. It was backbreaking work but he is now able to revel in the fruits of his labor. His two passions are whiskey and music and you are likely to find him working in the distillery or his music studio.
Zack — 5th generation
After completing college Zack moved out to the ranch to help his dad with the horses. He earned a degree in plant and soil science and after realizing that wheat grown on Reinstein Ranch had won a Gran Prix gold medal at the Paris World’s Fair in 1900, he decided to revive the tradition. With a heart of gold, Zack is your guy if you’re in need of a hand, a shoulder, or an ear. You are likely to find him in the distillery or on the tractor out in the field.
Libby – communication & organization
Libby met Christianna at a meditation retreat where they became fast friends. After a trip to the ranch, she saw the potential to do something extraordinary. She offered to join forces since organization is her strong suit and the ranch was in dire need of just that. Libby lives in Alabama and plays her vital role virtually. Green juice in hand, she is on the front lines of communication and structure so the family can keep a bird’s eye view. If she’s not camping or traveling, she’s dreaming about it.
Topher — wearer of many hats
Topher is a lover of sunshine, people, and cats. He also saw the family's vision and could see the potential with an extra set of hands. He jumped right in and got his hands dirty. He is now the accommodations manager and marketing outreach & event coordinator. You're likely to find him helping out on the latest project, chatting away, or lying in the sun.
Jenna — plant enthusiast
Jenna helps with permaculture design on the ranch. With a mind to conserve our planet, she specializes in California natives. She also helps out as an extra pair of hands for events or in the kitchen for retreats.
Kitty — guest charmer
Kitty was a rescue but has become an integral part of our family and the ranch. She firmly believes that humans are her people. She comes with the ranch free of charge and will cuddle anyone who lets her. Her purpose is to find the one in your crew who is not a "cat person" and try to convince them otherwise.
There are magical and metaphysical powers associated with the Morgan Territory area
just beyond our backyard which was home to the Volvon tribe from an estimated 12,000
The mountain was a spiritual focus and shamans went there to pray. The prosperous tribe hosted regular festivals and shared their bountiful resources. Over 2000 bedrock mortar sites have been discovered and you can go for a hike and see them yourself. This culture of great antiquity existed up until just about 250 years ago.
Next came the period of the Mexican Ranchos when the ranch was a part of
Rancho Santa Rita.
Immediately after California became the 31st state, J West Martin acquired Rancho Santa Rita for $10,000 at an administrator's sale owning both the ranch and the cattle that came with the land title. Martin was the ultimate “start-up” man; a venture capitalist, cattle baron, the 22nd mayor of Oakland, one of the original U.C. Regents, a banking startup entrepreneur, and cofounder of Oakland Gas, Light and Heat Company.
The next portion of the ranch’s history is a labyrinth of coincidence and providence
including mystery, duels, intrigue, political connections, Bay-Area high society, wealth
and murder. Even though it reads like fiction, all is verifiable.
Henry S. Foote was the last governor elected in Mississippi on the Union ticket; a dangerous vocation prior to the civil war. He was a firebrand abolitionist in the U.S. Senate, opposing the African slave-trade and the mistreatment of captured Union prisoners. He was noted as having pulled a pistol out in a scuffle on the Senate floor and fighting at least four duels (presumably he won them). Seeing his attempts to reason with Confederate legislators fall on deaf ears, he abandoned all connection with the Confederacy due to rising anti-Union fervor in Mississippi.
Thomas Carneal Sr. was the son-in-law and political cohort to Governor Foote. One sunny day in 1853 he was at a stopover on a Mississippi river cruise when a local judge invited him to have a drink. Carneal replied that “he would not take drink with a man who abused his Negroes.” A fight ensued as Thomas brandished a bowie knife and killed the judge, “in self-defense”. This act however, did not save his life as later that day the son of the deceased judge confronted Carneal with a double barrel shotgun.
Jane Foote was the wife of Thomas Carneal Sr and bore his son, Thomas Carneal Jr one
month after his tragic death.
Henry S. Foote was instrumental in passing the compromise of 1850, that guaranteed the newly admitted State of California would be a free state, prohibiting slavery. After his term as governor expired in 1854, Henry, Jane and Carneal Jr headed west to California.
Upon establishment of the J West Martin ranch, Martin married Jane Foote and acquired a new stepson in Thomas D Carneal Jr. The Martins welcomed two new sons into the family, Shelby and Richard Winter Martin.
But they had little interest in the ranch (or any real work at all) and became part of San Francisco/Oakland's society of social mirth and frolic. In 1897 Richard died of an overdose of alcohol and Laudanum, a powerful over-the-counter opiate bought from the local apothecary.
On the other hand, Carneal Jr was hard working and driven. Much like his stepfather, he had extensive business dealings throughout the San Francisco/Oakland business communities for several decades. He was a member of San Francisco's Olympic Club and Athenian-Nile Club, the premier gentlemen's social club – the town's movers and shakers - and Oakland's shadow power base. It was your standard star chamber, old-boy network where inkless winks and backroom handshake deals went down.
Carneal became an internationally renowned agriculturalist. His techniques for
refining the selection of wheat seed with a grain “blower” or cleaner, (still parked in
one of our tractor sheds,) proved effective. This experiment brought him the
Grand Prix gold medal at the Paris World's fair in 1900.
We still have the medal today.
Being married to his work, Carneal was a lifelong bachelor and “gentleman rancher” and he needed household help. This is where my family enters the story. Christine Rasmussen, my great grandmother, served as Carneal's cook and housekeeper. It was here that she met my great grandfather Henry. They were eventually married, had four sons and purchased a portion of Carneal's holdings now called Reinstein Ranch.
The County had intended to name the street that intersects Highand Rd. “Reinstein Road.” But to be sure of spelling they visited my great grandmother who insisted, in no uncertain terms that it should be named after “Mr. Carneal!” My dad often teased her about it, making sure she knew how many dates that probably cost him. The old Highland School just across from the ranch was built by Carneal to support the local families who lived nearby. My great grandfather walked down the driveway to this school every day of his elementary education to the sound of the 1100 lb brass bell now in the ranch yard.